Goldman Sachs Wants You to Know That Its Employees Have Lives
This story has been updated to include a statement from Goldman Sachs.
Goldman Sachs is out to change perceptions about its employees’ grueling work hours.
For four weeks starting in late December, the bank is publishing employee answers to the following question on its careers blog: “Whether it might be a favorite book, a fitness regime, a person you turn to for advice or perhaps a mental practice of reflecting—how do you reset?”
As can be expected, most answers revolve around spending time with family. “My kids are still at the age where they literally jump into my arms when I get home. It’s the best feeling in the world. Those hugs can completely change my mindset and often provide some needed perspective away from the office,” writes one employee. “Putting the electronic devices away and spending quality time with my five kids is the best release from my day-to-day pressures,” writes another.
Goldman Sachs (GS), like many other banks, has a reputation for requiring employees to work ultra-long hours—particularly junior employees. This summer, the bank limited summer intern workdays to a mere 17 hours. The bank has also been telling its junior bankers to take off Saturdays or weekends, and has formed a task force for quality of life issues.
“Social media provides an opportunity to help those who are interested get a better sense of the individuals that work at Goldman Sachs,” wrote a Goldman representative in an e-mail to Fortune. “The New Year offered another occasion to spotlight how some of our leaders balance life and work.”
The New Year might have been the occasion, but the impetus is likely to be, at least in part, the increasing competition for talent that the firm is facing from Silicon Valley firms. While Goldman may sway millennials with perks like a tai chi club, five-times-a-week Pilates, bubble tea in its café, and a champion dragon-boating team, older employees with families are likely to care more deeply about shorter or more flexible working hours, and ample family leave—policies that were the focus of tech companies like Netflix (NFLX), Facebook (FB), and Amazon (AMZN) last year.
Goldman currently offers primary caregivers (typically mothers) 16 weeks of paid leave, which they may take at any time during their baby’s first year; non-primary caregivers (typically fathers) are allowed four weeks of paid leave during the same timeframe.